A couple of weeks ago The Association of America Publishers proclaimed that over the course of 2015 e-book sales have decreased by 12.7%. Nielsen Bookscan have verified that these figures are mostly correct at the Book Expo America conference in Chicago.
Unit sales of e-books published by traditional publishers fell 13% in 2015 compared to 2014, said Kempton Mooney of Nielsen during a Thursday panel aimed at examining different publishing markets.
Units fell to 204 million from 234 million in 2014. The high point of e-book sales was 2013 when units totaled 242 million units. While e-book sales fell in the year, print units rose 2.8%, to 653 million. As a result, e-books’s market share of units dipped to 24% in 2015, down from 27% in 2014. Mooney observed that some of the gain in print sales was due to the extraordinary popularity of adult coloring books last year. The e-book sales figures came from about 400 traditional publishers, Mooney said.
Mooney also reported that the Big 5 publishers’ share of e-book sales fell to 34% in 2015, down from 38% in 2014. In 2012, the Big 5 held a 46% of e-book unit sales. The loss of share of the Big 5 was made up by self-publishers and small publishers. Self-publishers’ share of the e-book market rose to 12% last year from 8% in 2014, while small presses accounted for 30% of e-book unit sales in 2015, up from 26% in 2014.
It looks like major publishers have seen the largest decrease in e-book sales in 2015. This can be attributed to a myriad of factors such as higher unit cost and the lack of a true bestseller such as 50 Shades of Grey.
Michael Kozlowski is the Editor in Chief of Good e-Reader. He has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past ten years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and Verge.